Beginner’s Guide to Spices

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What’s Up, Hungry People

Tonight, I’m going to unveil the spice-laden path to culinary mastery. Trust me, the sight of a lengthy ingredient list can send even the bravest of us running for the hills. But here’s the kicker – most of those daunting lists are just herbs and spices, and they’re often used in tiny amounts that pack a big punch.

Beginner’s Guide to Spices: Unlocking Flavor in Your Cooking

Throughout my self-taught chef journey, I’ve amassed quite the collection of herbs and spices. Initially, flavoring food seemed like a puzzle where I was always missing a piece. It took a bit of trial and error, but I finally cracked the code: a well-stocked spice rack is your golden ticket to delicious meals. Seriously, with the right spices, even the humble chicken breast can transform into a globe-trotting taste adventure.

Let’s Cook

Imagine this: one evening, you’re dining in Italy with a chicken seasoned with thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, marjoram, garlic powder, coriander, and just a whisper of sugar. The next night, you’re at a lively taco stand, savoring chicken tacos spiced with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, a dash of cayenne pepper, paprika, and oregano. The possibilities? Endless.

Here are the twenty herbs and spices that I believe everyone should keep in their cabinets:

  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Marjoram
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Cayenne
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Mustard
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Sugar and brown sugar? In my spice rack?” Absolutely. They’re not just for sweets; they bring a crucial caramelization and depth to your dishes.

Once you’ve mastered these basics, it’s time to broaden your horizon. Think curry powder, chipotle powder, dill, caraway, saffron, and red pepper flakes – the spice world is your oyster. To keep things budget-friendly, I started by picking up one new spice on each grocery trip.

The real game-changer was discovering bulk spices. Affordable, customizable quantities mean you can experiment without making a dent in your wallet. And trust me, the bulk spice trend is picking up steam – it’s a treasure trove waiting to be explored in many grocery stores.

In my latest video, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what you can achieve with a robust spice collection. The more flavors at your fingertips, the more expansive your culinary exploration. Remember, each blend can season multiple meals, so have some empty containers ready for your homemade spice mixes!

Picking Your Flavor Team

First off, Hungry People, decide which spice blend is going to make your meal sing tonight. Each blend has its own personality and vibe, so think about what you’re in the mood for. Is it a night for the bold and beautiful Italian Herb mix or are we leaning into the warm embrace of the Taco Seasoning? Maybe you’re feeling adventurous with the Sweet BBQ Dry Rub, or it’s a day to spice things up with the Indian Curry Blend. The choice is yours!

Mixing It Up

Once you’ve chosen your champion blend, grab a bowl and a whisk (or a fork if that’s what you have handy – no judgment here) and mix those spices together like they’re old friends catching up. Make sure every grain of spice is well acquainted with its neighbors. This is where the magic happens, and you transform from a mere mortal to a spice wizard.

Saving for a Rainy Day

And here’s a little trick for you: if you’ve gone a bit overboard and mixed up more than you need, don’t fret. Grab an airtight container and stash the leftovers for another day. These blends can hang out for up to six months, ready to jazz up your dishes on demand.

Wrapping this up, remember that diving into the world of spices is less about following a strict set of rules and more about playing with flavors. It’s like jazz – sometimes you hit a note that surprises you, but that’s part of the fun. By keeping these essential spices on hand and not being afraid to experiment, you’re well on your way to whipping up meals that could very well be the envy of your friends and family. Plus, with the tip about buying in bulk, you can keep your pantry stocked without emptying your wallet. So, go ahead, mix up your first batch of blend, give that chicken, tofu, or whatever you’re cooking a good rub down, and let the oven (or stove) do the rest. Enjoy the journey, Hungry People, and as always, Enjoy your meal!

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Beginner’s Guide to Spices

The Starving Chef
Master the art of homemade spice blends with this simple guide to creating Italian herb, taco seasoning, sweet BBQ dry rub, and Indian curry mix.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Spices
Cuisine American, Indian, Italian, Mexican
Servings 4 spice blends







  • Choose your spice blend mix.
  • Whisk all herbs and spices together until completely blended.
  • Store whatever you are not using in an airtight container for up to six months.


Keyword beginner, herbs, spices
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